New Delhi: Robots have always fascinated humans. While those like BB-8 from ‘Star Wars’, Jarvis from ‘Iron Man’ or Atom from ‘Real Steel’ have been adored by sci-fi fans for years, the likes of Sony’s Aibo robot pet, Aelous’ robot helper with hands, Moley robotics’ Robot chef and LG’s weight lifting wearable CLOi robot, have already taken their place in homes and workplaces.

At the ongoing Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, robots are generating a lot of buzz again and this time big tech companies such Samsung have joined the bandwagon with a bevy of home robots called Bots. The Bot Care is a moving personal healthcare assistant for the elderly. It can help measure blood pressure, heart rate readings and ensure people take their medicines on time.

The second in line is Bot Air, a robot with built-in sensors to monitor air quality. This is an interesting addition for getting a neutral reading, but not indispensable, since most air purifiers provide sensors to monitor the air quality. Then there is Bot Retail is for businesses, built on the lines of LG’s CLOi Robot. It can be used to assist customers at stores, airports and malls. Samsung executives also spoke about a wearable exoskeleton called Bot Gems for athletes. It sounds a lot like LG’s CLOi suitbot, a powered exoskeleton that can enhance muscle strength and reduce the risk of injury and fatigue while running or lifting heavy objects.

Personal robots have got a whole new makeover at this year’s CES. While Sony’s Aibo and Mayfield robotics’ Kuri were adorable, they looked more like robots than pets. Lovot, by Japanese robotics company Groove X, is the first-of-its-kind toy robot, which looks more like an actual pet with its beady-eyed face, fabric clothing on the body and penguin-like hands. It has built-in wheels assisted by sensors to help it navigate its way in rooms without bumping into furniture. Available for pre-order in Japan at $5,500, it can interact with users through gestures and voice.

Remember the bipedal Walker robot from last year with movable legs, a big screen for face and that was the size of a child? Ubtech, the company behind it, has come up with its advanced version and is the closest thing to a humanoid robot. It is a lot taller in size, has a pair of arms and hands with the ability to grasp objects, walks more like humans and can detect objects and faces.

More announcements are likely over the next few days at the CES, but what we have seen so far clearly suggest that the minds behind them are trying to make these robots more useful and endearing to humans. The arrival of big electronic companies such as LG and now Samsung should usher them into the mainstream sooner.

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